Twelve years ago, the first episode of what would be the most iconic show of all time aired on AMC (paving the way for award winning productions; “Breaking Bad” & the “Walking Dead”). The show? Mad Men; a brilliantly written American hit series that revolves around an Ad agency in Manhattan. The storyline follows the lives of passionate advertisers during the 1960’s — a decade best described as a classical Jungian nightmare cycle.
Glitz and glamour aside; mad men offered us more than a look into the fashionably elegant (albeit scandalous) social life of the time; it lifted the veil on an intriguing and distinct period in our industry — a time when marketing was all about creativity.
Good or bad — we are no longer in the Mad Men era of advertising; that decade is gone, the game has changed. Creativity used to be the most important aspect of marketing — forming the basis of campaigns, tactics, and strategies. Today, it’s all about big data. This transitional period of sorts has given way to what could be seen as the golden era of marketing. For the first time in history; marketers have access to a treasure chest of data that reflects the needs, preferences, and pain points of consumers.
Data & Actionable Insights
Data, in its raw form (devoid of context) — is mysterious. It has no structure, no purpose, no meaning — just dry facts and figures. It is only when data is processed and converted into information that it becomes useful and meaningful.
Information is good (because it’s good to know) — but information is not insight.
Insight means we understand what is really going on, so much so that we are able to build predictive modules and prescribe a course of action that helps solve a specific problem. This is a crucial factor in achieving competitive advantage!
According to Deloitte & Touche, customer-centric businesses that focus on digital marketing insights are 60% more profitable than those that are not
Balancing the scale
The truth is; a creative (only) approach to marketing isn’t a good idea; there’s just too much uncertainty around it. Besides, businesses nowadays only care about numbers; they’re not really concerned about whether or not their YouTube video is cuter than their competitors. The obligatory mantra is “show me the ROI.”
With that said, creativity is still very important. It’s one thing to use data to understand how customers are behaving, but it’s another to engage them with it. Data has no appeal; you can’t use it to evoke emotion. This is where creative briefs are of great value — when it’s time to get involved with customers — persuading them to take a particular course of action.
“The key, from an industry standpoint, isn’t to favour one approach over another, or indeed, phase one out. Marketing success depends on an ability to achieve a symbiotic relationship between two apparently opposing concepts, by combining a variety of skills to see campaigns through from start to finish.” — Rebecca Manville